Today, August 25th, is the anonymously anointed “Kiss and Make Up Day.” Perhaps it is related to August 27th –“Global Forgiveness Day.” These modern “holidays” have little historic meaning, but Jewish Treats would be remiss in not noting that, in most years, the end of August is within the Hebrew month of Elul. (This year, Elul begins on August 31st.)

As Elul begins, so begins the 30 day countdown to Rosh Hashana, the New Year. Rosh Hashana is also Yom Ha’din, the Day of Judgment. On the first of Tishrei, God judges the world as a whole, each nation and each individual, and determines what will be their fate in the year to come.

As a preparation for the Day of Judgment, Elul is a time of teshuva, repentance–an opportune time for self-reflection and making amends. In fact, it is more important that a person put things right between him/herself and his/her fellow human than asking God for forgiveness for any particular sin against Heaven.

For this reason, the month of Elul is a time when many Jews make extra efforts to repair damaged relationships. This may be as simple an act as paying back the $5 a friend lent back in March. It may also entail the far more difficult task of seeking out a family member or an acquaintance and confessing/apologizing for hurtful behavior (blaming them for something, gossip, etc.)

While “kiss and make up” is a cute way of expressing this very important process of creating peace between people, teshuva is a serious and meaningful process. One should not seek forgiveness unless one really is sorry for what was done. The correlation to “Global Forgiveness Day” is an excellent reminder as well that, according to Jewish law, those who refuse (after 3 requests) to accept a sincere apology, may themselves be committing a transgression.

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